Bring back the classic in-flight map, please!


I’m a big fan of the in-flight map on the entertainment systems on planes. Seeing the names of the places we’re passing over and knowing how far along we are – as well as speed, altitude and heading – are fun for me. Sadly, however, it seems that airlines are doing their best to take away that bit of fun, or at least to cut it back significantly on the newer entertainment systems.

On my recent Korean Air flight back from Asia I noticed just how little the map channel actually showed anything resembling a map. It was all about ads for hotels in places our plane wasn’t going. Very disappointing. Yesterday morning, on my first of five jetBlue All I Can Jet flights I timed it again. The loop for the map channel is 7 minutes 10 seconds long – 430 seconds in total. Of that, a map of some sort is on screen for only about 110 seconds, about 25% of the time. That stinks.

I know that airlines are desperate for revenue anywhere they can find it and I’d much rather have a crappy map channel than pay more for my tickets, I suppose, but it really does suck that things have gotten this bad. Ironically, it is bad enough that I’m just not watching that channel, so the ads don’t get to me at all. I’ll just read a book on my Kindle and leave football on in the background.

But I wish we could go back to the classic in-flight map. Sure, it didn’t have the Google logo on it, but it did have the same cartographic features and it was actually just flight information. Much more useful.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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